Obama administration moves closer to seismic testing for Atlantic oil

|By:, SA News Editor

The Obama administration yesterday moved closer toward allowing oil and gas drilling off seven Atlantic coast states for the first time in decades, establishing guidelines for seismic testing that would gauge offshore reserves.

Although geophysical research companies will still have to apply for individual permits to conduct seismic studies in the area, and undergo more environmental scrutiny of their specific plans, the Interior Department's decision opens the door for the activity - and for possible drilling off the U.S. east coast in the 2020s.

Environmental groups oppose the action, saying tests would pose serious risks to species including sea turtles and some whales, and calling seismic testing “a gateway drug to offshore drilling.”

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